To all those out there dating a medical student who is finishing up their forth year, match day is around the corner. This can be a particularly scary time because there are so many potential changes ahead.
I know first had how difficult match day can be. For anyone that has followed this blog, they know that my hubby and I had a particularly difficult match day last year. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, and well, we are reentering the match again this year. I am literally having nightmares going through this again. The what ifs and the wheres are just floating in my mind constantly. For every cheery face that is out there on Match Day 2017 there will be an equally fake smile or horrified look on the face of some future doctor and/or family that just found out a decision that they totally are not cool with.
For anyone out there worried about Match Day 2017, here are a few tips I have compiled from my first match day experience:
- Ride the Wave – There are so many things outside of your control – where you will be, what you will be doing once you get there, how will you move, do you have enough finances to sustain you, will you have friends there, what about a new job? The best set of advice I can give is just to “ride the wave.” Only worry about what you can control in the “now”. Leading up to match day, focus on your significant other, your job, your friends and family. Worry about all the other what-ifs the day after match.
- Be supportive of your Medical School Person – Whether you are romantically involved, family or friends of a medical school person, the best thing you can do is to be supportive of them. They need you now more than ever, because as much as you are feeling the weight of their burden, they are feeling it 10 times more. The amount of guilt they feel for putting family and friends through this life altering change is tremendous. I have talked to many medical school persons, as well as doctors now. Most of them saying the hardest part about match was letting down someone they loved. Let’s lift up these medical school persons and show them we support them through thick and thin, and matching to Podunk Missouri – whatever right? It’s an adventure?
- Take a moment to feel sorry for yourself – as the supporting person to your medical school person, you need to take a moment to mourn the match. Feel sorry for yourself for a few minutes. Wallow in the unfairness and lack of control you have. After you have taken a few minutes for yourself to curse medical school and all its atrocities, promptly get it together. Things could be worse. I’m sure your medical school lover, brother, sister or friend could come up with a laundry list of alignments that could have you knocking on heavens door.
- Get a back up plan – I wouldn’t harp on this one, but as a person who didn’t get the match experience a medical school significant other deserves, I would suggest at least lightly entertaining a back up plan in case your medical school person doesn’t match. Obviously they will need to go into scramble mode if this is the case. Just a quick summary – Monday of match week they find out if they matched or not, and Friday, if they did match, is when the location is announced. If for some crazy reason they find out on Monday they didn’t match, go into attack mode. Do not lose it – they need your support now more then ever. This is when you need to help them figure out next steps, and what is the right process going forward. They need you to be their rock as their world is melting down around them. Maybe have a back up plan just in case this happens. I doubt it will for most, but for the unlucky few, your medical person is gonna need the superstar you are in this moment.
- Be excited even if you aren’t – Just enjoy the match day moment with your medical person even if you are having a hard time with the day or the place you will be. This is an exciting time, even if only for the fact that your medical person will be starting their journey as a true doctor. For that we should all celebrate, no matter the circumstances. If anything at all, match is one step closer to the completion of the uncertainty that is dating a medical student!